Leveraging Design-Build Expertise to Deliver Complex Projects


​With eight student housing projects recently completed or under construction, we continue to leverage the strengths of our integrated design, development and design-build capabilities.

Student housing developments present their own unique opportunities and challenges. With the best sites often situated as redevelopment opportunities in well-developed, urban settings, our team must evaluate many factors – most notably constructability – before we decide to develop the property. Add that to an unforgiving construction schedule that necessitates delivery by fall semester and our design-build delivery model uniquely positions us to succeed as we tackle these challenges.

ArborBLU, a 13-story student housing facility adjacent to the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, was even more unique as it was designed as a vertical and horizontal expansion of an existing restaurant – one that needed to remain open throughout construction. Our team saw the opportunity and the challenge and decided it was an exceptional fit for our expertise and ability to manage highly complex projects. The project team collaborated extensively with the restaurant owner to plan, design and construct the tower above and around the existing restaurant while sustaining their daily business operations.  

Beyond the engineering and construction challenges, our creativity, flexibility and integration allowed us to respond to changing market needs even after construction began. Originally designed with many two-bedroom units, the leasing team identified student demand trending toward alternate floor plans early in the leasing cycle. Working seamlessly together, the development, design and construction team quickly developed a solution to modify two-bedroom layouts into a mixture of one-, three- and five-bedroom units, more accurately reflecting demand and greatly increasing the momentum of pre-leasing.

From conception to completion, ArborBLU was a true team effort that highlights the value of our integrated design-build team, dedicated and experienced professionals with an aligned vision. This allowed us to remain flexible in addressing market demand changes while executing an extremely complex construction project on a tight timeline.

Read more about The Opus Design-Build Advantage™.